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The Culver City City Council Meeting Essays

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On Monday, April 13th, 2009, I visited the Culver City city council meeting, and found that they operate using a council-manager form of government. For a city with a population of about 38,000, this type of governmental structure is fairly common, and I was not surprised to see it in action in a community where the median household income is around $56,000 a year. Culver City is also a culturally rich community with a 60 percent Caucasian population, and a quarter of the residents are either of African American or Asian decent. The mayor, D. Scott Malsin, is one of five members on the council, and his term as mayor is on a rotating basis. Having been to a Hermosa Beach city council meeting with a similar council-manager structure, I knew…show more content…
Some folks even went up to talk about how great a job the city had been doing with the removal of graffiti or how the new skate park fence was a brilliant idea. Once everyone who wished to speak had a say, it was time to talk go through the consent calendar. A few of the consents were easily passed with unanimous consent, but one council member, Christopher Armenta, and the vice mayor, Gary Silbiger, had issues with C-5. On the calendar, this agenda item reads as the following, “Approval of Professional Services Agreements with Associated Soils Engineering, Inc., Geo-Environmental, Inc., and Zeiser-Kling Consultants for Geotechnical Engineering and Construction Services.” Councilman Armenta was worried that the council would not have any oversight over the process of awarding geotechnical service agreements to particular firms, and that the amounts given to a particular firm could wind up being an exorbitant amount of money. Vice mayor Silbiger had similar fears. Silbiger suggested that instead of contracting out a consultant, he wondered if there could be a permanent consulting position, but the city manager disagreed because the city needs to bring in all sorts of consultants with varying expertise. The city manager noted that one consultant with limited range would have little to do much of the time, and the consultant would waste the fiscal budget of the city. The mayor and the other councilmen tried to soothe Armenta and
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